While I was intrigued to read about the DC schools and their textbook warehousing and was shocked at the similarities this system had to the dysfunctional one used by the national medical establishment to store and distribute -in many cases to not distribute- medical supplies and pharmaceuticals under the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, I was a bit taken aback, by the commentary in an earlier post that single-parent households are innately worse off as learning and homework environments for children.

“There are certainly damaging sociological trends that hinder school performance (unmarried parents who don’t provide an environment in which homework can be done-indeed, don’t provide an environment where kids are even urged to do their assignments).”

I would argue-and yes it does seem I do that a lot on this blog-that the marital status of a parent has less to do with a parent encouraging a child to complete their homework assignments than other factors. Yes, being a child of a single or unmarried parent can have its difficulties and ideally every child would live in a loving, nurturing household, under the watchful caring eye of both a mother and father, but welcome to the real world. During my formative years I knew many kids from single parent households who excelled in their studies. I also knew kids from typical two-parent, nuclear families who lived in chaos that was reflected in their, let’s not say intelligence, but their drive to achieve. My point being, I don’t see the correlation.

Working to instill in children the importance of education and learning is part of being a good parent, single or married, mother or father. I would argue, it isn’t that there are too many unmarried parents; there are too many parents with misguided priorities. These priorities are indeed a product of society as a whole.

However, when it comes to getting our schools right and in turn working to get children on the right track where learning is concerned, it takes solid teachers, solid administration, involved parents-both married and unmarried-who support those teachers and administrators and an involved community. Combine these human attributes with academic essentials such as proven teaching methods and rigorous curriculum and we can start to talk about real change in education.